How St Mary's Lighthouse might look if £2.1m funding bid succeeds

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Detailed plans to revamp St Mary’s Lighthouse have been unveiled as the final funding bid is lodged.

North Tyneside Council and its partners are bidding to secure £2.1million from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to carry out vital repairs to the iconic Grade II listed lighthouse and former keeper’s cottages.

Development funding of £164,300 was awarded by HLF, thanks to National Lottery players, in May 2016 to progress the proposals and the final bid for the rest of the money has now been submitted.

A planning application has also been lodged detailing what the proposed restoration would involve if the funding bid proves successful.

The proposals, which have been drawn up in partnership with appointed designers Beaumont Brown Architects, include restoring all lighthouse facilities and rebuilding the original optic (light) to create a fascinating new feature for visitors.

There are plans to improve and expand educational facilities to give visitors the chance to learn more about the heritage and environment of St Mary’s

Island.

Other improvements featured in the designs include:

 A glass-covered first-floor viewing area to provide a sheltered space during bad weather

 Open decks to the south and east to provide additional viewing areas

 Upgraded toilet facilities

 Increasing the size of the shop

 Improved and updated visitor interpretation, including a new, flexible learning area linking the cottages to the lighthouse

 New lifts providing access to all floors

The proposals also include replacing the causeway leading to the island. Repairs will be carried out to the existing walls and gates outside, new

surfacing will be installed and the bird hide will be refurbished.

Plans to improve disabled access have also been backed by the North Tyneside Coalition of Disabled People, who have been involved in drawing

up the designs.

Norma Redfearn, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside, said: “St Mary’s Lighthouse is a real jewel in the crown for our coastline and it is absolutely vital that we carry out these repairs to preserve it for future generations.

“A great deal of hard work has gone into preparing a robust bid for funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and I would like to commend everyone involved for their efforts.

“The final designs look fantastic and fingers crossed our bid will prove successful and we’ll be able to start to make these changes a reality in the

near future.”

The project is a major part of the council’s £36million Seafront Master Plan for Whitley Bay to breathe new life into the stretch of coastline between Cullercoats Bay and St Mary’s Island.

As part of the development, a full environmental assessment has been carried out which considered the potential effect on wildlife. All appropriate controls will also be in place and the proposals will be subject to consultation as part of the planning process.

An activity plan featuring various educational and heritage themed events will also run alongside - and following the completion of - the capital works,

including celebrations to mark the 120th anniversary of the lighthouse.

A Back the Bid campaign (#BackTheBid on social media) is ongoing and is aimed at encouraging people to support the HLF funding bid. A number of people have also showed an interest in becoming a volunteer at the attraction while the capital works are carried out.

A decision on the final funding bid to HLF is expected in December 2017. If successful, it is expected that main capital works could begin in spring 2018 at the earliest with completion due in spring 2019. Use to show your support for the campaign.

For more information about the Seafront Master Plan, including details about the lighthouse restoration proposals, visit: http://my.northtyneside.gov.uk/category/642/coastal-regeneration